The provincial government has taken a radically new direction in providing energy for B.C. citizens and industry.
The government's new Energy Plan has taken away BC Hydro's right to create new energy and given that job to the private sector. It is forcing BC Hydro into long term "use or pay" contracts with private producers, which I understand already amount to over $30 billion. Investors are falling over each other trying to get into this action - you cannot beat a return on capital of at least 10 per cent come hell or high water, over 30-plus years, guaranteed by BC Hydro and paid for by us, the electricity users. No wonder that the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) has found that the government energy policy is "not in the public interest."
While the financial exploitation of B.C. energy users, mainly average citizens, via this new energy plan is bad enough, the environmental destruction caused if even a small portion of the hundreds of proposed independent power projects are allowed to proceed is devastating. If we, and all our fellow living things, want to survive on this planet in the long term, we must protect the remaining intact areas of the natural environment. The new energy plan does exactly the opposite - hundreds of natural watersheds are threatened with destruction for the sake of providing a fat return for wealthy investors. We cannot allow this to continue.
The regional district's Green Advisory Task Force must recommend that the government restore and reaffirm BC Hydro as a publicly held, fully integrated power generation and transmission system, permit BC Hydro to investigate and construct small hydro, wind, tidal and other forms of renewable energy, prohibit the private export of electricity and conduct a provincial environmental assessment of all private power projects.